She greeted me with a hug, then quickly dashed into her room to throw on her Super Woman cape. It had been 4.5 years since I had last seen her for HER newborn session, and now “Big Sister” Anna was speaking in full sentences, sprightly, and the perfect mix of girly and tough. I knew this session was going to be fun 😉
Photographing siblings during a newborn session is climbing the ladder quickly of things that make me feel all the warm fuzzies. Perhaps it’s because I’m the oldest of three, so I can empathize with the responsiblity and excitement of having a new baby to care for (a real life baby!!).
Maybe it’s witnessing the curiosity for this new, small human.
It could also be capturing the slight jealousy, typically displayed as extra clinginess to mom.
I’ll just go with “All of the above.”
Some important tips to remember, as the photographer, when photographing a family with an older sibling or siblings is to make them feel MORE special than the new babe. There little life has just changed dramatically so I always make sure that I am conversing with the sibling(s) even more than the parents.
I’m asking her about her favorite new toys, what she’s learning in school.
I’m taking time to let her show me her room. I’m getting down on her level to play.
It’s necessary to make them feel involved and helpful during the shoot. I will often ask a sibling to grab a swaddle or a pacifier. I might ask her to fetch a headband or a pair of socks.
I also make sure that I am taking several photos of the siblings, too, making sure they know that I believe that they are equally as special and important.
As for the parents, please know that the photographer does not mind AT ALL if the older sibling(s) throws a fit. It happens!
When (not IF) meltdowns occur from an older sibling I am always careful to not address it – that’s not my job. I let the parents step in and direct my full attention to the baby, helping mom and/or dad only when I’m asked.
Perhaps the most important bit of advice I can give for photographing siblings during a newborn session is to go with the flow.
At any given moment during the session the baby will cry, the older sibling will become upset, the whole family will be together, the sibiling will peel away, baby will be asleep, baby will wake, mom will need to feed baby, the sibling might come running into the room and land on the bed with a crash! I just let it all happen, because this is life and life is to be documented. Snuggles, tears, messy bed sheets, kisses, and all. Have your camera up and ready to capture every piece.
Capes and giggles,